The Pantheon twitter asked the following question:
If you could add one feature to Pantheon from any other game, what would it be and why?
My answer is one that I know isn't really possible, and it's more than a feature -- it's a core system of the game. So while I know it's never coming to Pantheon, I'll take every opportunity to push my agenda for the future of MMOs!
I would add SWG's character progression system, particularly as it pertains to skill points, skill trees, skill gains, and specialization.
Skill Tree Overview
Skills would be arranged in a tiered tree system. The system would be experience-based meaning that if you used a sword you would earn sword experience. This experience could then be spent on sword tree skills that you can purchase and move up the tree.
The tree system would be tiered with multiple paths to progress, ultimately leading to a “Master” tier at the top if you go up each branch. Obtaining the next rank in the tree allows you to unlock not only new abilities but improvements to the overall use of your skill or other bonuses.
Weapon Use and Specialization
A Master Swordsman in this system would have knowledge in the use of 1h sword, 2h swords, and other sword-like skills with bonuses and attributes matching a Sword user. Such a skill tree would look similar to the Marksman skill tree from SWG (shown above) where the marksman not only knows how to use a rifle, but also has become a specialist in suppression fire and accuracy.
Imagine a Sword user increasing their finesse with a blade, which might lead to them being capable of swinging more accurately. There could be a tree dedicated to using heavier, broader swords. Similar trees would exist for Magic (offensive, healing, etc) and plenty of others.
There would be a limit to the number of skill points you can allocate. Perhaps you can only “Master” 1 entire tree, but you could have points to go up a single branch in another. This would allow you to be a Sword Master, but also be proficient in shields, or perhaps some healing magic, or buffs. If you wanted to be a “tank” you could “Master” whatever tree focuses on the defense and go up the 1h sword branch in Swords (Or maces, etc).
Armor Under this System
Armor use would be incorporated into trees. Anyone can wear simple cloth but to use higher level armors without immense penalties you will want to go up the branches in your tree that increase armor use. The major defense tree may have a branch dedicated to alleviating the penalties of heavy plate, whereas the magic trees would have a branch dedicated to giving the player bonuses that make up for some of the shortcomings of just using cloth.
Unlearning skills would be as simple as pressing a button. However, you would lose all exp gained and spent on that skill. This would allow people to feel like they have some ability to experiment and change what they want to be without always being stuck in one play-style, but at the same time give the community a sense of permanence where people aren’t masters of everything or bouncing around.
Investing time to earn “Sword Experience” enough to earn the top skill in a branch would be something you won’t easily want to abandon because you worked hard for it.
This system effectively eliminates the permanent hard choice of a class and provides flexibility to create a character custom to your play-style and class desires. Abilities, bonuses, and weapon-types would be gated behind certain skills and tiers, thus allowing for balance and sense of accomplishment.
The limit to skill gains and how they are achieved creates a balance on the top-end as well as the ability to undo a mistake. Instead of your class identity being tied to a choice at character creation, the entire game becomes about creating your character and identifying with the choices you've made.
Feel free to share a mechanic, feature, or even an entire unlikely system you'd like to see on Pantheon, or any MMO for that matter.